It’s been rather slow around the Ohlsson household over the last few weeks, hence the lack of posting. Jesse just took his final in his Physics I course. His impression: “Child’s play!” Now he’s definitely within striking distance of his degree. He should be finished before summer. He’s also been quite busy at work; a week ago he had to take a quick trip to Naples, Italy to help straighten out some problems. Currently, he’s investigating a couple job leads here at SHAPE. It looks pretty good at the moment. So good, in fact, we’ve begun to investigate the house-buying process in Belgium. That’s at least a year down the road, but we plan to be well-prepared when the time comes.

As for Liam, he’s your typical little two-year old genius child. Every day he astounds us with something. He can now walk down the stairs unaided (albeit not unsupervised), takes apart and puts together one of his toy tractors, operate the stereo, control the DVD player better than I can, and operates the computer better than some adults I know. He still loves to be read to, and although he still enjoys his board books, is now partial to longer stories. His current favorites are the old standby, Golden Books.

Tonight he spent the last half hour of his evening running back and forth between the living room and the library, giving/receiving hugs and kisses at one end, pounding on the piano at the other. We have about a dozen pictures of him doing this — very few are actually in focus, due to how fast he’s moving. In fact, he’s not even in the picture in a couple of them. It’s hilarious to watch his little feet flying across the floor, as he runs back

and forth.

All that running has tired him out. It’s time to take him and his favorite friend upstairs for the night.

another monkey

On Friday we received a package in the mail — Liam’s Great Grandma made him his very own sock monkey, to match Jesse’s old one. He loves it, and frequently gives it hugs and kisses. This morning, it sat at the table and *shared* his breakfast. The old monkey has not been forgotten, however; it still sleeps with him every night.

(be sure to read the following post, about our trip to a science museum)

The Pass

Today we went to The Pass, a “hands on” science and technology museum located about fifteen minutes from our house. It’s something we’ve meant to do for some time, but never quite got around to. What a mistake! This museum is awesome, for young and old alike. It’s housed in the buildings of one of the old mines that once peppered this area of Belgium. We stayed a couple hours, and only saw perhaps one-tenth of what there is to see.

We spent most of our time in “The Children’s Street” for obvious reason. Liam loved the room of mirrors in the first room. He got to see himself short and plump, tall and thin, upside down, and reflected hundreds of times. He especially enjoyed the two-way mirror — he and Jesse sat on one side, I on the other. Then he controlled the lighting. Flash — he sees mommy; flash — he sees himself! Here, he steps into a couple portraits. Is he a cat?

Or a king?

Leaving the room of mirrors you walk down a long, blue-lit tunnel. He really enjoyed running the length of it, and having the freedom to explore!

Next we went to the “test and touch” exhibit. All kinds of materials to play with. He got to scan bar codes, see how Gore-Tex works, make sirens go off and learn about soundproof glass, and conduct electricity through all kinds of materials, including himself. He could have spent hours in this room alone!

From there we went to the sport exhibition. There is a rock climbing wall, flexibility testers, strength and balance testers, explanations of how the different muscles and joints work… Somewhere along the way, J and I started enjoying ourselves so much that we kind of forgot about the camera. Errr, sorry about that.

A few other highlights, to be explored some other day: animals for food, and how it gets from a mooing cow to your plate; a genes laboratory; the machine room displays the inner workings of the mines and the machines that once ran them and houses the “theatre of controversies,” prompting debates on genetics; the various systems and organs that make up the body and how they work together; and the “garden of adventures,” a 69 acre park where you can operate a weather station, learn the principles of gears and levers, discover the laws of aerodynamics on a speed track, or go orienteering. In addition there’s a playground, a picnic area, and oodles of other things to do!

We bought season passes, and we will be back very frequently. We love the hands on approach to learning about the world, as well as the chance to let Liam explore and enjoy himself without having to put limitations on him.

in the kitchen with Liam

A few nights ago we made a new recipe: Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta. This dish is kind of unusual in that you don’t cook the sauce; you simply let it marinate for a number of hours, then toss it with the hot pasta. Liam helped me put it together, so I thought you might enjoy the pics!

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta

Assemble your ingredients. Enlist a helper to oversee the small details.

3/4 cup olive oil
8 sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2oz black olives sliced
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 rounded teaspoon salt
1 rounded teaspoon pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
1 box of pasta

Prepare sun-dried tomatoes, olives, onion, and herbs and spices and place in large bowl.

Add tomatoes and oil and allow to marinate for at least four hours.

What to do with those four hours?? Well, since 3/4 cup of olive oil doesn’t exactly make this dish *lite*, Liam recommends a good workout. C’mon, little man! Push hard!

Cook your pasta. Liam would like to remind you to always use your oven mitts when around the stove. Safety first!

Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Sprinkle with feta and enjoy!

This dish got two very big thumbs up. We skipped out on the red pepper flakes, as we are sensitive to Liam’s palate, but I think the dish would have been even better with the extra heat. The sauce is pretty oily, and there will be oil left on your plate, but ummmmmmmmm so good! I’d recommend a nice hearty baguette as an accompaniment, to soak up every bit of the sauce. This is restaurant fare, and yet so simple to make. We’ll definitely be having it again soon.

Try it, you might like it!